Live From Mars was active July 1996-December 1997.

UPDATE # 52 - September 14, 1997

PART 1: Mark Your Calendars for September 23 WebChat
PART 2: A New (School) Year's Welcome to... Live From Mar
PART 3: Watch Mars News Conferences Over the Internet!
PART 4: July 6 & 9 Programs Available on Tape Now!
PART 5: Mars Global Surveyor Flight Status
PART 6: Subscribing & Unsubscribing: How to do it!


Global Surveyor's Charles Whetsel will be our guest for the Tuesday,
September 23 WebChat at 9 a.m., PST. Charles is the spacecraft systems
engineer and is responsible for making sure that MGS meets all of the
scientific objectives that are planned for this mission. To prepare for
the chat read Charles' bio at:

To participate in the WebChat, RSVP at least 24 hours in advance to
reserve a space for yourself. Send RSVP to: You
will receive confirmation of your registration and a password to enter the
chat room. If the chat rooms are full by the time you register, you can
still participate by watching the chat from the Observe Room at:


Dear Educators,

On behalf of Passport to Knowledge and the NASA Quest Project, we'd like
to welcome both newcomers and returning teachers to a new school year and
a new chance to experience LIVE FROM MARS. Our project has demonstrated
that it's flexible enough to be successfully implemented over the coming
months whether you and your students have never participated before and
don't know exactly what an "electronic field trip" might be, or whether
you've logged hundreds of thousands of "Passport Miles" by traveling with
us to Antarctica, up into the stratosphere, out to Neptune and Pluto, or
began your exploration of Mars with us in the last school year. We invite
you to spend a few minutes to find out what's new, what's been working for
educators like you, and a few ideas about how to participate.

What's New?
Most important and exciting was this summer's incredibly successful
landing of NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft on Mars, and this fall's arrival
of the Global Surveyor orbiter. Just about everyone, teachers and students
alike, witnessed the TV newscasts and front page stories on Pathfinder's
July 4 landing, the amazing color images and the travels of Sojourner, the
first robotic rover to explore another planet. Kids and adults followed
along with amusement and delight as scientists nicknamed the rocks they
were exploring "Barnacle Bill" and "Yogi."

Perhaps what's most exciting about the Live From Mars project is that it
gives you and your students many different ways to interact with the
people who were front page news this summer, and who will continue to
explore Mars. It also takes you behind the scenes at NASA to witness the
inside story of cutting-edge scientific research, and relates the
exploration of Mars to many of the scientific principles you'll want to
cover in class, whatever grade you teach.

What is "Live From Mars"?
An integrated multimedia project, Live From Mars (LFM) is supported in
part by both NASA and the National Science Foundation, and directed by
Passport to Knowledge, an independent producer of prime time educational
television and instructional materials. LFM offers live TV and tapes,
online materials and opportunities, and hands-on activities. LFM is very
flexible and we suggest a "menu" of ways to participate below.

Two, 60-minute TV programs will be broadcast this fall on NASA-TV and on
participating PBS stations. "Destination Mars," to air October 30, will
background both missions, introduce Mars as perhaps the most exciting
planet to visit in our solar system, and summarize Pathfinder's summer
success and the findings of the first months on Mars.

"Today on Mars," to air November 13, will feature the arrival of Mars
Global Surveyor and its first results. It will showcase a national online
student collaboration to gather weather data from sites across North
America and compare and contrast it with a "weathercast" from Mars!

Both programs will contain student interaction with members of NASA's Mars
teams, demonstrations of how students have worked with hands-on science
projects simulating aspects of the missions, and suggestions for how to
get the most out of the project's online components.

You're just a few clicks away from exploring an abundance of resources.
Take the Guided Tour. Biographies and journals bring your students closer
to the men and women of these challenging missions than is possible in any
textbook. These first-person, behind-the-scenes research diaries reveal
what it's like to work at NASA through revealing and memorable anecdotes.

The Photo Gallery provides images of spacecraft and Mars, both from the
1976 Viking missions and the current Pathfinder and Surveyor explorations.

Soon to be added is a Guided Tour of Ares Vallis. Imagine yourself on Mars
with Pathfinder (the ultimate field trip!), guided by insights of NASA's
brightest and best. Sound neat? That's something only our Live From Mars
site can offer, using RealAudio and RealVideo to let Matt and Ron and Joy
(see how close LFM can make you feel?) speak directly to you and your

Also new, and coming soon, "Mars Concentration" and "Red Planet Sliders,"
two sets of interactive online puzzlers that will challenge your visual
memory and knowledge of Mars, using some of Pathfinder's latest images.

Lastly, debuting 9/16, there's "Weather Worlds." In this online
collaborative activity, students are challenged to brainstorm what
low-cost instruments it would take to record weather near their schools,
and to compare and contrast their results with what Pathfinder has been
discovering on Mars.

E-Mail Lists
If you're interested and you've not already done so, subscribe to one or
more of the e-mail lists. For all the latest news we offer this weekly
online newsletter.

If you want to share ideas with other teachers, make suggestions to the
project, we invite you to subscribe to the special Live From Mars teacher
discussion forum. This moderated group provides a kind of "virtual faculty
lounge" with advice for teachers of just about every grade level and
subject. To get on this list, send e-mail to:

and in the message field write only: subscribe discuss-lfm

And there's another way for teachers to find support from fellow teachers:
in the Teacher's Lounge section of the Web site check out "Fellow Teachers
Can Help" to find out how you can interact with some of America's most
innovative and most enthusiastic teachers, who've signed up to mentor
peers via the Internet!

Hands-on Activities
One hallmark of every Passport to Knowledge (PTK) project is an original
Teacher's Guide, supported by a poster, student worksheets, and other
instructional materials. A multimedia kit including the Guide, 
a teacher orientation video, additional posters, a set of slides, 
and the "Mars Navigator" CD-ROM is also available.
To find out how to order, check the LFM Web site or contact PTK at: 

How Much Time Should You Invest?

Evaluation has shown that there are many different ways to use PTK
projects successfully. Since this is an electronic field trip, you can
think about the options as "Economy" or "First Class" travel packages.

Take the Guided Tour of the Web site. Be sure to access What's New for the
latest from NASA's Mars missions. Stop by the Mars Team pages with
biographies and journals. In Featured Events note the "WebChat" schedule,
your opportunity to interact directly with NASA experts. Look at the Kid's
Corner; your students could be featured here in the months ahead! Go to
the Teachers' Lounge and review the online version of the Teacher's Guide
and the Multimedia Kit. Visit the Video section and check out the schedule
for upcoming broadcasts. Do some hands-on activities and watch the

"First Class"
Of course, do all the Economy options, but also order the videos from
1996-97. Order the Multimedia Kit and review the Teacher Resource Video
for background and ideas for implementation. Participate in Weather
Worlds. Stage several hands-on activities. Watch the fall '97 videos and
be sure to gather assessment data: we're sure you'll be amazed at how much
your students have been learning (and we'd like to hear reactions from you
and from them!)

You'll soon learn what works best for your and your students and you'll be
able to build on the successes of the year before -- shared by fellow
teachers in the "discuss" archives. And it won't be over soon. NASA plans
to launch missions to Mars about every two years, so you'll have "Real
Science, Real Time" to share with new groups of students in the years
ahead... and you'll all be master teachers! Knowledge about Mars and
NASA's missions will be "cached" in your brain, so your teaching will be
both better and easier! Whatever level of involvement you choose, we wish
you luck in the months ahead. So, on behalf of NASA, the National Science
Foundation, Passport to Knowledge and NASA's Quest Project,

Onward and Upward, to Mars and Beyond...

Geoff Haines-Stiles
Project Director, Passport to Knowledge and the Live From... specials

Sandy Dueck
Project Manager, NASA Quest Project


Now you can watch NASA TV coverage of the Mars missions over the Internet.
To do this, you will need RealMedia Player, which you can download free of
charge from Progressive Networks, and at least a 14.4 modem connection for
RealAudio and 28..8 for RealVideo.

To view the audio and video archives for Global Surveyor go to:

for Pathfinder:


Passport To Knowledge provides Touchdown! (Program 3A) and Touchdown + 6!
(Program 3B) on videotape at cost of production and shipping/handling.

See for more details about
each program.

The 1997 summer Live From Mars programs have incredibly exciting footage
of the Mars Pathfinder landing and Sojourner's first images, sheer
excitement of the week's events and Mars Team jubilant celebration at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as well as loads of interviews with Mars
Team members including Donna Shirley, Rob Manning, Matt Golombek, Peter
Smith, Brian Muirhead and others! You will also see educators, students
and museum guests model related hands-on learning activities.

Footage from around the U.S. at live uplink sites including NASA's
Classroom of the Future, the Denver Museum of Natural History, Houston's
Museum of Natural Science, Center Of Science and Industry-Columbus, Ohio,
The Planetary Society's Planetfest Convention and Maryland Science
Center-Baltimore recaptures this summer's biggest event in planetary
exploration ever for you and your students and will serve as an vital
resource as you prepare students for the upcoming LIVE November 13 "Today
on Mars" broadcast.

To place your order, send a check, purchase order, or money order made out
to Passport to Knowledge. Clearly indicate which program (3A "Touchdown"
or 3B "Touchdown + 6," or both) you are ordering. NOTE: Each program is
TWO hours in length!) Your order will be shipped upon receipt.

Passport to Knowledge
P.O. Box 1502
Summit, NJ 07902-1502

Label the envelope: LFM Program 3A/3B in order to speed processing.
You may also fax your order to: 973-656-9813
Questions, call: 973-656-9403

(Information applies to U.S. orders only.)


[Editor's note: This status report was prepared by the Office of the
Flight Operations Manager, Mars Surveyor Operations Project, NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory.]

Saturday, 13 September 1997

At 11:59 p.m. PDT, Surveyor is climbing upward toward the high point of
its second orbit around Mars. This point lies at an altitude of 33,569
miles (54,024 km), and will be reached at 1:58 p.m. on Sunday. Currently,
the spacecraft's velocity relative to the surface of Mars measures 1696
m.p.h. (758 meters per second).

The starting point of Surveyor's second orbit was over a location just
north of a dark feature called Syrtis Major. On August 20, the camera
obtained a long-range image of this area while on approach to the red
planet. This image is available for public access on the Surveyor web

Early Saturday morning, the flight team transmitted the T2 command
sequence to Surveyor. This sequence will control the spacecraft for the
next two days and contains tasks that will configure Surveyor and its
science payload for orbital operations at Mars.

One of the first activities in T2 was the activation of the Magnetometer,
Mars Orbiter Camera, and Thermal Emission Spectrometer science instruments
on Saturday evening. For a period of four hours after activation, the
three science teams monitored data transmitted from Surveyor to verify the
health status of their instruments.

The magnetometer and spectrometer will now begin to collect data on a
continuous basis. Unlike the previous two instruments, the camera must be
pointed directly at the planet in order to perform imaging. The first of
these opportunities will occur during a 15-minute time period centered at
the start of third orbit on Monday at 12:28 p.m. PDT. In addition, the
Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter will also collect science data during
Monday's opportunity.

Surveyor will store the information from the science instruments on its
solid-state data recorders. On every orbit, the data will be transmitted
back to Earth during two sessions. One of these sessions will occur just
after the start of the orbit. The other one will take place half an orbit
later, about three hours after passing through the high point.

After a mission-elapsed time of 310 days from launch, Surveyor is 158.64
million miles (255.31 million kilometers) from the Earth and in an orbit
around Mars with a period of 45 hours. The spacecraft is currently
executing the T2 command sequence, and all systems continue to be in
excellent condition.


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